Shangri-La’s new Instant Dining Awards – get more value at The Shard!

A lot of Head for Points readers have been enjoying free or heavily reduced meals and drinks in the Shangri-La Hotel in The Shard in London in recent weeks.  They have been redeeming the 1,200 Shangri-La Golden Circle points that were offered during a promotion last year and which convert into £55 per 1,000 points.

I got an email from Shangri-La yesterday to announce that they have launched Instant Dining Awards. (EDIT: After a reader enquired, it seems that this cannot yet be done at The Shard – see the comments – although presumably it will roll out soon.)

Shangri La instant dining rewards

Instant Dining Awards allow you to pay part or all of your Shangri-La restaurant or bar bill with your Golden Circle points. 

There seem to be both good and bad reasons for doing this compared to the alternative, which is redeeming 1,000 points for a £55 / $100 voucher:

Instant Awards allow you to use up your ENTIRE Shangri-La points balance.  At present, anyone who has visited The Shard will have redeemed 1,000 points for a £55 voucher.  If you earned the full 1,200 points from the promotion last year, you will have been stuck with 200 orphan points.  With Instant Awards, you can redeem your entire 1,200 points balance so you will get £66 of value for the points.

The rules are a bit vague.  However, there is an implication that only ONE Golden Circle card can be applied to each bill.  If you redeem for vouchers, you are allowed to mix together vouchers from different accounts.

You will not earn Golden Circle points for the part of the cost of your meal paid for with Instant Awards. People do seem to be earning points on the whole bill sometimes if they pay with the paper vouchers. (EDIT: This comment was amended following a comment below.)

Instant Awards cannot be used to pay for the service charge element of your bill.  I don’t think this applies if you use a paper voucher.

With Instant Awards, you are reliant on the Shangri-La IT system working at the time you pay.  The rules state that, if the hotel cannot verify your card balance, it is tough luck and you will have to pay in cash.  You may prefer to order a paper voucher to give yourself 100% certainty of being able to use it.

You need your physical Golden Circle membership card to hand to use an Instant Award, as well as photo ID.

The good news is that paper redemption vouchers (£55 per 1000 points) will still be available.  If any of the small print issues I highlighted above are a problem – it is for me, as I was planning to use a voucher from my account and from my wifes account to settle the same bill – you can still order those via the Shangri-La website.

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  1. I’ve still got my original 1,200 points from the promo, and it looks like I have the chance of getting a few more. I got an e-mail from the Sule Shangri-La in Yangon, Myanmar a couple of days ago confirming my booking for tonight and enquiring whether or not I would like to book airport transfers or dining options. I’m going nowhere near the place but I hope whoever turns up enjoys themselves, and if their points turn up in my account I shan’t be complaining.

  2. sam wardill says:

    FYI from Shangri La “We are pleased to inform that you may present your temporary membership card and proof of photo identity document for verification purpose to complete the redemption. We will be able to proceed with the instant dining awards redemption when the name on the identity document matches the name on your Golden Circle Membership profile/card. ” However this is now academic for me as we’ve established the instant dining award doesn’t work in London.

  3. Some feedback from my experience last night (which turned out to be a gorgeous evening weather-wise).

    No problem getting in/up/exchanged. In fact anyone with a desire to do a quick trip and view could easily say they had a booking and go to the 35th floor just for a walk around.
    Despite the supposed Aug offer of no min per head on a Sundays at Gong, we were told it would apply, despite arguing with the manager. As it turns out, it didn’t when we transferred our bill to Ting (and we got escorted downstairs with our glasses/wine on a tray.
    While they try to charge people more per head (£45) for booking to sit by the pool, guess people aren’t interested, as pool area was closed last night. But not only is there a pool, there is also a gym, and both are on the west/south sides of the building, so no sunset views if that was your idea – the bar faces north and east.
    The cocktail list was rather unappealing, so we had spirits, beer and wine – eventually. The service was shockingly slow/bad despite many bar staff who were all rather clueless when it came to queries. Pretty disappointing except for the view.
    The Ting Lounge menu is rather limited and not too over-priced – it’s more the drinks that are double price. The steak was fine, but I wouldn’t rush back. The smoked salmon was lovely, but at 4 bites, I’d never pay £15 for it again! The service in Ting was far better and friendly, and you could walk around a bit without feeling watched, unlike Gong where you were barely allowed to move without an escort!
    Our total bill for 4 came to £285 inc, so with forex rate of £56:$100, paid £30 extra per couple. Pricey – yes. Amazing – no. View – lovely. Experience – enjoyable but a bit over-rated, wouldn’t pay to go again and certainly would not spend the same £30 just to go to the viewing deck a few floors up.
    Points-wise: the waiter took my account and bill details (didn’t have GC card), so whether or not they are added (specially in the Aug double points promo) remains to be seen. If they are it’ll be a bonus, and used perhaps for another short/free trip when instant redemption is available (coming soon according to reception).
    I planned the trip specifically to coincide with sunset – pity we couldn’t see it from Gong, so would recommend being in Ting at the time, though you’d have to leave your table to actually view it – only reception faces west (odd design placement for both bar and restaurant). Since we wanted the best weather for the event, I booked a few Gong/Ting pairs – mostly Sundays as that was the best availability (which will now free up when I cancel all my other bookings in a few minutes) – and luckily the weather yesterday played ball.

  4. My account (with no activity since getting the points from the promotion) seems to have been closed… It does not let me log in.
    But my wife’s account works, maybe because she credited a stay.
    Anyone experiencing the same?

    • pazza2000 says:

      Same experience here, worryingly.

      • Ditto – it won’t let me login either. Have Tweeted them – will see what they say!

        • me too, award wallet got stuck

        • I got it resolved by activating my account again.
          To activate your account, click “Sign In” at the top left pane > click “Activate Your Golden Circle Online Account” > enter your membership number, last name and your e-mail address, click “Continue.” Then, follow the instructions online to complete the rest of the registration process. You can choose the same password as you had before.

        • Great tip, John, thanks! This happened to me and my OH’s accounts. One would think that Shangri La would fix what must be a known issue, and having logged into both accounts recently for the Shard redemption, it can’t be disabled due to a lack of activity. At least they are both working again now, though to be honest, now that we’re “finished” with them, I only wanted to login to my own account to see if points did post from our Shard bill – they didn’t.

        • Perfect, many thanks for that tip John – did the trick!

  5. FYI – went to Ting today for afternoon tea, and did the online redemption for 1,000 points to 100 USD.

    Got the voucher really quickly at reception (within a minute), but was surprised to see I only received GBP55 for USD100! So looks like they are using an exchange rate of around 1.81…. definitely not mid-market.